一位開發者眼中的獨立遊戲開發進程和節奏(上篇)

一位開發者眼中的獨立遊戲開發進程和節奏(上篇)

原作者:Andrei Klubnikin 譯者:Willow Wu

毫無疑問,當今的遊戲市場正處於蓬勃發展階段,而且2017年的市值將會達到1080億美元。手遊市場的年均複合增長率爲19%,它仍然是app發行領域中最賺錢的行業,佔據了總收入的42%(461億美元)。想從中分一杯羹嗎?如何才能製作出讓玩家拍案叫絕的獨立遊戲?請看下文。

如何製作獨立遊戲:走向成功的操作指南

1.市場調研

一切都始源於腦海中的一個想法——而且你必須證明它是有價值的。

你應該做這些事:

研究App Store和Google Play商店的下載/暢銷遊戲榜單,看看什麼類型的遊戲在盈利和玩家沉浸度上更勝一籌。截止2017年10月,在美國蘋果商店排行榜中佔據前排是:熱門3消遊戲,比如《糖果傳奇》《謎題發燒友》《夢幻家園》;無處不在的《我的世界》;還有寓教於樂性質的產品,比如Word Connect。但是從Statista的數據來看,收益最多的應該是策略和RPG遊戲。(比如在2016年7月的時候,策略和RPG遊戲分別盈利1.94億美元和1.62億美元)。平臺遊戲(或者是無限跑酷遊戲)的下載量一般都非常大(比如說《神廟逃亡》,下載量已經超過了1.7億次),但是在盈利方面表現平平。

Temple Run(from kotaku.com)

Temple Run(from kotaku.com)

選擇正確的類型。作爲一個獨立開發者,你可能掙得也不多,所以你可能沒辦法做出一個一應俱全的城市建設遊戲,無法估算各種遊戲事件的結果,也無法設計出所有對應的場景,所以,別想着要做一個“你的世界”或者“新部落村莊”。想做三消系列手遊?那些有資歷、有膾炙人口遊戲的移動產品公司,他們會花上3000小時(更確切地說是工時)創作出像《糖果傳奇》這樣的遊戲。如果是你,你要花多長時間?更重要的是,你有沒有能力跟Playrix或者是King這樣的巨頭髮行商競爭?

你的成功與否很大程度上是取決於你的能力,能不能突破思維框架。你肯定記得《阿爾託的冒險》吧,出自加拿大一個獨立工作室之手。這個遊戲的機制並不複雜,但卻設定爲付費遊戲(現在是4.99美元!),蘋果公司還把這個遊戲列入精選產品,如此陣勢足以吸引玩家來購買這個遊戲,成爲它的忠實粉絲。

這就是爲什麼你在初期階段就要思考一份靈活的盈利策略。只有0.19%的用戶會把錢花在遊戲上,所以你最好把遊戲設定爲免費遊戲,或者是針對Google Play和the App Store準備不同的盈利策略,就像Snowman(《阿爾託的冒險》的銷售商)做的那樣。對於大部分獨立開發者來說,設定爲免費遊戲或者是花錢取勝模式是一個折衷的方案,但是你的遊戲內容能不能留住玩家這還是個未知數。

2.設計遊戲概念

好了,一旦你定下了遊戲類型,這時候就該設計遊戲概念了。

如何製作出一款成功的獨立遊戲?根據Supercell的產品經理Michail Katkoff的說法就是選擇適合的主題。從潛在玩家的角度去思考。如果你在瀏覽App Store,看到一個末世主題的遊戲,猜也能猜到這遊戲講的是的什麼(想盡一切辦法逃脫殭屍的攻擊,阻止致命病毒擴散等等)。如果這是你的菜,你馬上就會下載這個app——而且你都不用去看教程視頻就知道怎麼擊垮那些殭屍。

然而,你應該選一個傾向性不那麼明顯的主題。R-Style Lab的首席技術官Pavel Shylenok認爲休閒遊戲市場每2、3年就會進行一次大洗牌。在2010年代早期,模擬農場和史詩風格的奇幻遊戲是最掙錢的,但如今我們在市場上看到的更多是太空戰爭和蒸汽朋克風格的app。把目標放在特定的細分市場上——舉個例子,喜歡《哈利·波特》的玩家可能會願意花錢買一個在魔法城堡中展開劇情的遊戲——這是個可以考慮的選項。

下一步呢?你應該聘請幾個遊戲劇本創作人員設計出不同的概念,能夠運用到遊戲機制和不同的移動平臺上(或者是iOS或者是安卓,或者二者都可以),然後挑出最好的那一個。先設定一些遊戲參數、策劃遊戲關卡,這是個不錯的開頭方式。這時先不要往細節深入,因爲它們之後還要根據不同的情況進行修改。

規劃

挑幾個規模比較大的末世主題遊戲(或者跟你所決定的主題相符的),先用他們的畫面當作UI設計師的參考素材。同時,UX設計師和開發者使用默認素材(基本圖元)來製作一個遊戲關卡,而不是直接用上具體的角色或者是道具。做出來的效果可以嗎?沒問題的話,那就繼續。

寫一份成品規格參數,列清楚它的功能、性能要求,以及盈利策略和後期規劃;

把項目劃分爲幾個階段(在每個階段設一個比較實際的目標)。就如Attilio Carotenuto(《反思我的第一個獨立遊戲(Postmortem of My First Indie Game)》的作者)所說,當一個獨立遊戲開發者,“真正關於遊戲開發的事只佔了10%,剩餘的90%都是另外的事”。這就是爲什麼你必須得學會辨別輕重緩急,安排好任務、管理你的團隊,根據用戶反饋及時做出調整。除非你的團隊裏有十多個開發人員,不然你是沒有必要用那些高大上的項目管理軟件(比如Jira和Redmine),用Google Sheets就可以了。

第二部分,我們會談談實際遊戲開發和測試,還有在預算有限的情況下,獨立開發者們要如何推廣自己的產品。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

Game market is absolutely booming and will top $ 108 billion this year. Growing at a CAGR of 19%, mobile games remain its most lucrative segment and now account for 42% (or $ 46.1 billion) of the total revenue generated by app publishers. Want to grab a share of the pie? Here’s how to create an indie mobile game that will overwhelm users.

How to create an indie game: step-by-step guide to success

Market research

It all starts with an idea – and your idea has to be validated.

Here’s what you should do:

Study the App Store and Google Play download/top grossing game charts to see what game genres tend to perform better in terms of revenue and user engagement. As of October, 2017, the upper regions of the US top-performing iOS app charts are occupied by popular Match 3 games like Candy Crush, Puzzledom and Homescapes, the omnipresent Minecraft and occasional “edutainment” titles like Word Connect. According to Statista, however, it is strategy and role playing games that generate most revenue (in July 2016, for instance, such iOS games made $ 194 million and $ 162 million, respectively). Platform games (or endless runners) usually get tons of downloads (like Temple Run which was downloaded over 170 million times) but fail to make significant revenue;

Choose the right genre. As an indie developer, you’re probably operating on a shoestring and therefore won’t be able to create a fully-fledged city-building game capable of evaluating the aftermaths of various in-game events and modelling appropriate scenarios, so say goodbye to your Minecraft and the Tribez clone ideas. Want to launch a match 3 franchise? A custom mobile application company with a solid game dev portfolio would spend around 3000 hours (man-hours, to be precise) to create an app like Candy Crush. How long is it going to take YOU? What’s more important, will you be able to compete with publishers like Playrix and King?

Your success largely depends on your ability to see beyond stereotypes. You surely remember Alto’s Adventure, the endless runner game created by an indie studio from Canada? Although the game made use of simple mechanics and went paidmium on the App Store (it’s currently priced at $ 4.99!), Alto got featured by Apple and created enough buzz to attract and engage players.

And that’s why you should think of a flexible monetization strategy early on. Since only 0.19% of mobile users spend money on games, you’d better go freemium or employ different monetization strategies on Google Play and the App Store like Snowman (the vendor behind Alto’s Adventure) did. Going free-to-play (and pay-to-win) is the middle ground for most indie developers, although it remains to be seen whether you’ll manage to provide enough content to engage users in the long run.

Concept development

Ok, once you decided on the game genre, it’s time to develop game concept.

How to make a successful mobile indie game? According to Michail Katkoff, Product Manager at Supercell, it’s all about choosing the right theme. Put yourself in your potential users’ shoes. If you browse the App Store and come across a post-apocalyptic game, you already know what it’s all about (trying to escape from zombies, stopping the spread of a deadly virus, etc.). If that’s your cup of tea, you’ll download the app straight away – and you don’t even need to watch explainer videos to understand what you have to do to kick that zombie in the face.

However, you should pick something neutral: Pavel Shylenok, CTO at R-Style Lab (you can check his profile here), believes the casual games market changes every two or three years. In early 2010s, it’s farm simulation and epic fantasy games that gained most traction; today we see more space war and steampunk apps released to the market. Targeting a specific niche – for example, players who love Harry Potter and therefore might spend a few dollars on a game taking place in a bewitched castle – might be an option.

What’s next? You should hire several game script writers to develop different concepts taking into account the game mechanics and mobile platforms (it’s either iOS or Android or both) and select the best one. A couple of settings and game levels would do for a start; don’t go into much detail since the concept will evolve over time.

Planning

Choose several post-apocalyptic (or whatever theme you’ve settled on) games that made it big and use their visuals as a reference for UI designers. Meanwhile, UX designers and developers will create a game level with default objects (graphic primitives) instead of characters and objects. Does it work and look OK? Fine, go ahead;

Write a comprehensive spec covering the functional and performance requirements of the final product, monetization strategy and further development;

Break the project into several stages (with each iteration having an achievable milestone). As Attilio Carotenuto, the author of the incredible “Postmortem of My First Indie Game” put it, being an indie developer is “really 10% game dev, and 90% everything else”. That’s why you have to learn to prioritize tasks, manage your team and make changes to the scope based on user feedback. Unless you have 10+ developers on your team, you don’t really have to use fancy project management software like Jira and Redmine (Google Sheets will do).

In the second part of the article we’ll discuss the actual game dev and testing process, as well as tricks that help indie developers market a game on a limited budget.(source:gamasutra.com